tv U.S. Senate Sen. Risch on Iran War Powers Resolution CSPAN February 13, 2020 5:04pm-5:18pm EST
amended. it sends a signal to the irony is that there's no price for aggression and will undermine the deterrent and it will leave our troops and diplomats and citizens vulnerable and nobody wants that. with that i yield the floor. >> 's mr. president we are about to vote on an important piece of legislationis and a piece of legislation that will never become law but nonetheless it deserves our attention and certainly deserve serious consideration. we knew no to things as we approach the number one under the constitution that absolutely crystal clear that only congress can declare war. number two is crystal clear we know the president of the united states have the authority to defend the country. finally a number three and thiss verys important as it relates to this. no one, no one wants war with i ran. no one agrees that we should
proceed to war with i ran and that's simply not the situation here today. there are constitutional questions here weet know that e have to wrestle with and they are difficult ones. it's important to note here first of all that the dispute has been going on with i ran for a long time has really nothing to do with the iranian people. we support the arabian people. they have a long history of proud tradition and they deserve substantially better than what they are getting in leadership today. this is an important debate we are going to have today about war powers and the use of military force. one of the things also that is clear that muddies the water and that is that there is no clear line of delineation between
actual war and the use of kinetic force. it's important at this debate and i believe it should not be held in this context. it should be a policy that we are debating usable and all contents. i sat. dozens of hours of debate on the war powers of the president. it's an age-old debate that's been going on since george washington was president. tarja debate because these words written in the 18th century and things were a lot clear and things are much less clear today these debates were long and there were many lawyers involved and indeed no conclusion can be reached. it's one of those areas i've come to the conclusion that the words that need to be written in order to clearly specify the
place of the president occupies in thehe place of the congress occupies is a very difficult one. there are things on this earth and i really believe this may be one of them where we know it when we see it but we can't define it. we no warar when we see it. we also know what is kinetic action in order to protect the people of the united states that is more isolated in the hands of the president doing a defensive matter. we know it but defining the distinction betweenn the two wn one blurs into the other is very difficult. the president needs the authority that he has two defense the united states and it is clear that authority comes from number one article ii of the united states constitution. number two it comes from the war
powers act to number three comes from they umf passed by the spotting for some time. iran if you were listening understand that the president has that authority. he has specific authority from all of those buckets notwithstanding the arguments that are made here by some members of this body. the president unquestionably has such powers. this power has been used very sparingly by this president compared to the last administration. the numbers are really indeed striking. the drone strikes that have been taken then and now during the obama administration 540 of them over eight years. this particular administration they are very few and far between and can only be described as a handful. this is the president who enforced the use of military
force. i have had the opportunity to discuss it with him at length in that than in the room when he's been confronted with these questions and had to make the decisions. he is deeply moved by these kinds of questions and understand how difficult they are. when he talks about how he asked to write letters to the men and women who didn't come home about having to makese those phonecals and having to go to dover to receive the remains of our brave men and women who did make it home, he is deeply deeply disturbed by these matters and i can tell you having been there when he's had to make these decisions that these weigh heavily on him. so what are we doing here today. it certainly not using power willy-nilly as i've indicated. it's been sparingly used in
great contrast to the previous administration. what we are doing here today is we are trying to get our arms around the question of when is it appropriate for the president to use military force and we all have our ideas on that. we have the words of the founding fathers left us so we are going to debate it here today and it's important. the unfortunate part is we are also sending a message to i ran. and i ran is listening. there's no question they are listening to this debate and they are listening to what people are saying on the floor of the senate and one of the out of this the way this is drawn is that the drafters of this one to send a message of appeasement to i ran. this has been tried. it hasn't worked.
the last administration bent over backwards to offer appeasement to i ran and they were greatly betrayed by it and it was tried with the jcpoa and it didn't work. the reason it didn't work as we are not dealing with peopleor he who are acting in good faith. what we need to do is we need to send a message of firmness and not weakness and at the end of the day when we are all done with this there may be such a message. he needs to be a consistent and uniform message when it comes to messaging to i ran when it comes to messaging on our foreign policy as it relates to i ran but it will not be this wall that is before us because it's going to be vetoed. we all know it's going to be vetoed. it takes a two-thirds majority to override that. it's not going to happen. the mixed messages there, i ran to listen too it and the hardliners will take it one way
and other people will take it the other and that is not a good situation. hopefully we will be able to lay this out in a way that they can read between the lines and get the message that's important. the president took action and people criticize here that was difficult. it was a tough decision. it was a really bad guy, guy who was worse than osama bin laden. he was the person who is executing iran's maligned policies in the world and in the region. his killings and loss of limbs have become legendary in the world today. whenever i see one of our young men and women missing an arm or a leg they -- general soleimani. he was responsible for the ied program that took the lives of
so many and maimed so many of our men and women that were fighting in the middle east. here gotten to the point where he was wandering around with impunity and not worried about what he was doing or that anybody was going to take any action. let's look at the timeline over last year. the iranians started blowing up oil tankers and nothing was done about it. they attacked the saudi oilfields and 100 americans were working in nothing was done about it. they took them a drone of hours over international space and nothing was done about it. finally theyy ratcheted up 13 attacks on u.s. soldiers at u.s. bases in iraq. these are men of women that we have asked to go over there and push back against iran's infiltration into iraqnf. 13 attacks they took reed finally on one of those attacks somebody was killed. the president lay down a red
line that if an american is killed there was going to be a price to pay. they finally killed that p pers. they attacked our embassy in baghdad and attempted to set it on fire so eventually the president made a choice to do what he did and this was in response to the continual pushing of the envelope from i ran and the calculations of i ran made. this man was traveling. general soleimani was traveling. he had been traveling from place to place putting in place final plans in court nation for the s. fusion of an attack against american people. it was eminent or you have heard my friends i oh no was in a minute. we listened to the intelligence. i said on the intelligence committee. i said so all of the briefings given that the top-secret level
that worked even to the people here in the body. i also sat through the ones that were given to the intelligence committee which were compartmented and much more granular. there was no doubt that this man was planning an imminent attack to kill americans. he didn't get the chance. thank you mr. president. thank you for what you did. we have heard the argument here that it wasn't eminent. this person was substantially more eminent danger to the united states of america and to america than osama bin laden but when the president states barack obama took out osama bin laden we all cheered it. in fact we passed a resolution 100-0 commending the president of the united states for what he did. today mr. president you heard us pass such a resolution thanking you. thank you mr. president and farewell general saw one.
iran do not miscalculate and read what is happening here as capitulation or weakness or appeasement. it is not. it is a disagreement between this branch of government the legislative branch and the second branch of government the executive branch as to how we should defend ourselves but make no mistake about it. we will defend ourselves. in america we operate under the rule of law. this bill in front of us that we are debating today will not become law it will not be part of the body of law which we live by. it will be vetoed. iran take notice. if you continue on the path that you are on with your maligned at the goodies it's going to take you to a very bad place.
i would urge a no vote could understand how it's going to come out and will be standing here again to sustain the president's veto and it will be sustained. thank you mr. president. ale the floor. >> today our campaign 2020 coverage includes massachusetts senator elizabeth warren holding a town hall event in arlington, virginia. live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span.